Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring is coming and the duckies are getting to enjoy their pool.

The little pool is out and stays out.  We have propped it up to be mostly flat and they have no problem getting in and out, but only about three ducks fit in it at a time, so a larger pool is on the shopping list. Eventually, we hope to put in an in-ground pond type pool with drain.  But they are happy with what they have now.

You can really tell the boys from the girls now.  Our boys all have beautiful curly tail feathers, and of course have the prettiest coloring, although our female Welsh Harlequin is extremely beautiful.

You can see Keelyn's purple feathers in this shot.
digging for bugs - YUM quack quack
Keelyn (Welsh Harlequin duck hen) and
Queenie (Cayuga duck hen)
bath time 
SPLASH SPLASH preen preen

Our girls have started laying, so we have switched their feed to Layena Sunfresh Crumble.  Of course we continue to supplement with alfalfa (from mini-bales) which they still love (the leaves mostly, the stems are a bit dry and tough making it harder to eat, and we think probably less tasty), and occasional greens.  They are good forgers, and they love it when we get a nice steady gentle rain because all the worms make their way out of the ground.  In fact they have done so well with foraging for bugs that Kouta (our big Pekin Drake {white boy duck}) has developed a bit of an Angel Wing from too much protein in his diet (Layena is higher protein, because laying ducks need extra protein).  We are really trying to give them more "greens" lately so that we can give our duckies a good nutritional balanced diet. 

The aviary's floor is now almost entirely dirt.  Between the snow and our good foragers there isn't anything left.  Ducks will eat almost everything (including digging up the roots and eating them).  They can quickly turn a beautiful green pen or run back into dirt/mud pit.  We are hoping to plant some Day Lilies near the pool area, and we also plan to plant Camomile in the aviary, as well as ground ivy and silverweed for low ground coverage.   These plants are not harmful to the duckies and are considered hardy and indestructible and therefore recommended for waterfowl pens/enclosures.  The full recommended list is at the end of this post.

Our duckies continue to grow and give us joy.  We just recently put a couple of chairs in the aviary.  Now that it is warm it is a relaxing joyful place to sit and rest. 

More to come...

Hardy Plants Recommended for Waterfowl Enclosures:
In their pen: ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea), silverweed (Potentilla anserina), camomile species (Matricaria), large leafed butterbur (Petasites).
On pond edge: day lilies (Hemercallis), yellow iris (Iris pseudacorus), tall perennial grass euialia (miscanthus).
For nests: stinging nettle, butterur and smartweed
Protection from wind and sun: Low growing conifers, Chinese Juniper, Dwarf Pine